Good News: Junior Achievement teams up with GSU to help youth understand finances

Good News: Junior Achievement teams up with GSU to help youth understand finances

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - When young students learn about business and personal money management, it helps the entire community. Now, a growing partnership in Savannah will help local sixth and seventh graders understand finances better than ever before.

The college campus on Savannah’s southside could soon be getting even more youthful.

“There are plenty of children who get to the end of their high school careers and have never been on a campus,” said Camille Russo, Junior Achievement Vice President for Marketing.

Sixth and seventh graders from as many as 10 Coastal Empire counties will get that experience through a partnership between Georgia Southern University and Junior Achievement, that will bring a new financial-literacy program to the area and a new instructional tool to GSU’s Armstrong campus.

“We had been wanting to bring a Discovery Center to the area for a long time. Georgia Southern and their president, Dr. Marrero, have always been great supporters with volunteers and helping us with programs. So actually, we were talking to him about volunteers and then began to talk about Discovery Center, and he had a light bulb go off and this, wouldn’t that be great for us to do at the Armstrong Campus,” said Russo.

Junior Achievement has several Discovery Centers across the state that are at the center of two programs the organization will be starting here.

“In the sixth grade, the students will learn to run a business. So it will fuel their entrepreneurship and then in the 7th grade, they do a personal finance class called JA Finance Park. And in that, they learn how to run a household budget.”

And for both, they will use the Discovery Center, a large outdoor mall set up that will be inside Southern’s Student Recreation Center.

“There will be storefronts of corporate partners, local and some statewide partners, who will come and be part of this simulation, and the students will go through an exercise, a capstone exercise, where they will go from store to store and buy groceries and fill out their budget. Or, in the other program, they will actually work for those companies.”

Pending approval from the Board of Regents in April, construction could begin on the Discovery Center by this fall.

“It’s truly a win-win, and you could add another win in there for the school system. Savannah-Chatham schools are a wonderful partner of ours. We all benefit when we have an educated and work-ready group of students graduating.”

Some of the recreational activities held inside the rec center on the Armstrong campus will be relocated before the Discovery Center opens.

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